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27

Jul

Emotional Eating – Integrative Nutrition Graduation


I stumbled upon this image today. It seems fitting on this Monday after graduating from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) yesterday. I think this is a feeling that we have all experienced, though it is not always so clearly understood. Sometimes we don’t recognize it as the absence of another and eat whatever is closest. Sometimes we recognize the loneliness and eat through it regardless, desperate for anything to make us feel full. I think at one time or another we all eat our way through a lack of love in our life. The key is not to punish ourselves, to swear up and down that it will never happen again and then to beat ourselves up when it does. I tend to think that awareness is curative. When it is allowed in on a deep enough level awareness in and of itself manifests change. Simply bringing our awareness to the many ways in which the way that we feel affects the way that we eat and the reciprocal ways that the things that we eat affect the way that we feel is a bold step towards a healthier and happier existence.

Being a holistic health counselor trained at IIN guarantees that one is bringing their awareness to these and many other ways in which food is an integral part of the complex web of our lives. Our relationships, our careers, exercise, spirituality, our environment, society, all of these things must be taken into account if we are to truly understand our cravings and how they can be sated. Rather than being a complication of the already hard to comprehend nutritional theories that we are bombarded with, I think that most who embrace these ideas experience a simplification. There is an immense freedom to be gained by jettisoning the usual confines of yo-yo weight loss and gain that accompanies other, less comprehensive and more prescriptive approaches to health. Once we take into account the many factors that are both in and out of our control we begin to see that it is not massive feats of will and grueling dedication that allows our health to flourish. It is not about attempting to fit our body into a particular mold, or eating within the confines of a particular diet that works for someone else. It is about addressing the situation with an embrace that is open enough to allow for all of the many factors that impact our sense of hunger and emptiness as well as recognizing the many, many ways that we can be full-filled.

“Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone, it’s not warm when she’s away”

A deep breath leaves me feeling centered and grounded. Social awkwardness can leave me cold and jittery. A hug brings warmth and gratefulness into my heart. A paycheck can be empowering, a bill in the mail deflating. I could achieve all of the emotions above and so many more through food or it’s absensce. Sometimes, when I don’t recognize the emotions that my body is generating for what they are, I can confuse them with hunger and either deny myself or indulge in food as a means to try and control the situation. Times when I can simply pause and recognize what my body/mind/spirit are saying are the times when I can honor these emotions and choose to nurture myself appropriately. Of course, sometimes I’m just really fucking hungry.

I feel blessed to have studied with all of the amazing people in this program and am truly excited to now be sharing these tools with clients. If you are reading this I would love to work with you. If you are ready to feel powerful in your choices and are excited about the possibility of listening to and trusting what your body is saying to you than my program is aimed at you. It does not matter where you are at now (not even geographically, I am in NYC, but so far most of my clients I work with over the phone). Please reach out for a free consultation. If you recognize that there is room for growth in your life, if you want to send increasing amounts of light into the areas of your life that have been in shadow too long, than let me offer the possibility that working with a health counselor is exactly the type of support that will empower you to live the life that you are capable of, but may have been denying yourself.

05

Mar

Integrative Nutrition

I recently posted the following to the iNYCs forum, but the same applies to all who might be interested. Please feel free to reach out and ask questions or take me up on the free health history offer. It will take about an hour of your time.


I’ll admit upfront that I have not read the new Integral Life Practice book, though I do have the original DVD kit and I have read much of Wilber’s work.

Caveat aside.

Nutrition has always struck me as a gap in the Integral world.

I think that Joshua Rosenthal has stepped up to fill that void.

I am currently enrolled in his Institute for Integrative Nutrition and, after the first few weekends of class, thoroughly impressed with how integral his approach is. I highly recommend his book called, surprise, Integrative Nutrition. It is a thoroughly holistic approach to health, happiness and well being. One of the most basic ideas behind his work is the distinction between Primary Food and Secondary Food.

Primary Food = Career, Physical Activity, Relationships, Spirituality

Secondary Food = What you eat

I don’t know if this strikes you as obvious or obtuse, but after years in the counseling world he noticed that there could be one group of people who ate absolute shit, yet thrived, and another who ate with a fervor that might be referred to as Orthorexia Nervosa, yet still struggled to feel good. The point was that nourishment does not only come from food, and in fact, secondary food can often have less of an effect on your health than primary food.

The Integrative Nutrition approach truly avoids dogma. It promotes bioindividuality, and prefers teaching how to think rather than what to think. It is incredibly free from prescription and embraces all diet types as true but partial. They go out of their way to give us two world leaders on two thoroughly contradictory dietary theories in the same weekend (Sally Fallon and Neal Barnard last weekend). This approach is more about empowering individuals to make a life time of choices (that will change over time) than it is about inviting another authority into your life who will pretend to know exactly what your body/mind needs. In breaking down the idea that someone else has it all figured out for you you free yourself to realize that your body has known all along, we just stopped listening.

The program is more about exposure to new ideas and experiences and developing an increased confidence and awareness of the body/mind/spirit than it is about adopting any one life style or diet. There are suggestions I will strongly advocate, but there is room for all paths along the way.

So, if anyone is looking for an integrally informed health counselor just let me know. I will be taking clients very soon and am currently offering free health history consultations to anyone who is interested in even considering.

For more information take a look at my new (and still under development) website at http://www.integratenutrition.com/

02

Dec

The Emergence at COSM

Announcing a new Meetup for The NYC Ken Wilber Meetup Group!

What: Special Holiday Event @ CoSM w/ Alex Grey – Mon., 12/15

When: December 15, 2008 6:45 PM

Where: Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM)

Dear Friends,

We are pleased to announce that Alex Grey has generously offered to conduct a intimate, integrally informed tour of his gallery for iNYCs members, friends and family. Alex will cover such topics as: state experiences and art, subtle energy, and the use of psychedelics for spiritual exploration.

The tour will be followed by a brief Q & A with Alex.

After which “The Emergence”—iNYCs’ own Devin Martin and his friend David Wesson— will provide a participatory musical experience. Our evening will conclude with a holiday toast.

“David and I took on our current work as an experiment in integration,” Devin says. “The languages we use and the methods we engaged were hugely informed by and part of our Integral Life Practices.

“Recognizing that the road of duality, filled as it is with happiness, is necessarily also filled with all of its opposites, people such as Alex, who have ventured so fearlessly, like a shaman, into the limits of our own consciousness, with the intention of taking pictures and bringing them back for the rest of us, have been an inspiration and a guiding light.”

Check out Alex Grey on Integral Naked: http://in.integralinstitute.org/contributor.aspx?id=24
And his artwork also on IN here http://in.integralinstitute.org/avantgarde/art_alex10.shtml

As most of you know, CoSM is leaving Manhattan at the end of December. Alex and Allyson Grey will be creating a new chapel and retreat center about an hour north of NYC. So this may be our last chance to the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors as it stands today.

Special iNYCs fee for this event: $20.

*Registration Details*
Please arrive at 6:45pm so we can begin the tour promptly at 7pm!

Learn more here:
http://kenwilber.meetup.com/58/calendar/9275431

09

Aug

Integral Education – Seattle – Whidbey Island

I just returned from Whidbey Island, WA where I was attending the Integral Education Conference put on by Next Step Integral. About 60 people gathered from various spots on the globe to discuss education from an integral perspective. First I had to get there.

I got in to Seattle around 11:20am. David was supposed to meet me at the airport about an hour later flying in from Boston, but air travel sucks and he was delayed about 12 hours. Looks like I was on my own in the city.I went to Pikes Market where I may have seen some guys singing four part harmony in front of the first Starbucks, a bunch of hippy’s, tourists, beggers and locals. I got a vegan chili dog at Cyber Dog Cafe. I went to see a matinee of Hancock, not bad, I like the twist, it’s kinda sweet and Therone looks hot as hell. I didn’t even realize she was in it. I bought the softest pair of jeans I have ever felt at Road apparel. They’re made out of wood. Real nice salesman there has a daughter in Brooklyn. I asked him where I should hang out and he recommended a neighborhood called Belltown.

Since it was looking like David was not going to make it in time for our planned night out on the town I debated going to a Whole Foods to buy a bunch of enzymes I had been reading about on the plane and then heading back to the hotel, but decided to hit a bar on my lonesome for at least one beer to see what kind of trouble I could get into.

I sat down next to a construction worker named Rich. Great guy, and the perfect solution to my situation. Rich is the type of guy who will randomly buy a round of jello shots for the people in his vicinity and strikes up conversations with everyone. He lives in Belltown, and also seems to be a bit of a drinker. We started at Buddha Bar, moved to Rendezvous, then Alibi Room , then Sonya’s . Many drunken hours full of conversation with a wide variety of locals later I took a cab back to the hotel where David was already asleep in bed.

The next morning we were on the ferry on heading over to Whidbey Island. It is a beautiful place and at this particular time it was full of amazing people.
We snuck away from the conference for a few hours to go to one of the state parks on the island and hike a few miles in a beautiful lush forest with an ancient cedar that is over 500 years old.

The conference was great. It was full of a rich mix of truly inspired individuals all eager to share their appreciation for the world with children and determined to get better at doing so every day. There were presentations and experiential exercises. We sang, danced, played frisbee and walked around a labyrinth. I met a great variety of educators young and old, each of whom taught me something about life.

David and I rented a guitar from a local music shop and got to play our new music for the first time in front of a couple of intimate groups of people in the beautiful sanctuary on site. A beautiful room with amazing sound. I’d love to record there some time.

No idea how this experience fits into my career goals, but I’m glad I went and would love the chance to return some time.

24

May

Boston

“buddha”

“Buuddha”

“BUDDHA”

“BUDDHA!”

I was in a dream at an Integral Salon and we were discussing the difference between rational understanding and ‘knowing’ when these cries of “Budhha” came crashing through and woke me up. Turns out it was Talia, at all of 21 months old, screaming from the other room. I asked Candi if I was hearing her right and she said, ‘yeah, sometimes she says that’.

“Buddha”

I’m in Boston this weekend. I drove up with my sister and brother-in-law yesterday. I dropped them off and went to David and Candi’s house to work on our music and hang out with their daughter Talia. Tonight I am going to see my parents in Ashland and then we are taking my mother out to the Top of the Hub for dinner to celebrate her retirement after over 25 years of teaching. I don’t think she’s done yet. She has much left to give in ESL (English as a Second Language)

The Emergence.

David and I have been writing songs and preparing to record them this summer. We are going into the studio next weekend to do a preliminary acoustic recording to help us hear what the full production versions of the songs may sound like and also to hand out to other musicians we are going to invite to play on it. Our working title for the project has been Witness (no more DaVerse), but it looks like we are going to end up calling ourselves The Emergence. Here is a list of songs that we are working on/considering for the album. Some of them are working titles.

Stuck in the Middle
It is I
Lullaby
Torn by the Highs
Wake the Dawn
I Before Abraham
Vapors
Crow
One Great Sea
Adonai
Japa
Lost in Place
To die by these Kisses
Cracklin Diamond
Day 136
dum dum beat
Pantry
Raise
Slate

20

Apr

Pre/Trans Alcoholic?

A couple of my friends recently told me that they have decided to drink alcohol again. Thanks for sharing you say? Well, both of these people are self professed alcoholics. The exciting thing, for me, is that I am comfortable fully supporting them.

I have had my issues with things such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) over the years and for a long time fought hard against many of its teachings. The fact that I am not an alcoholic and had not been close enough to one was an ignorance that created one part of my problem. The other ignorance, I believe, lies within the program.

AA takes an individual with an unhealthy relationship to alcohol and teaches them to self identify as an alcoholic. It is the way you introduce yourself in a meeting and is the diagnoses you are asked to accept. For far too many this alone is a huge step towards recovery. From varying degrees of denial that there is a problem, to varying degrees of acceptance that you can control the solution, AA has helped many to move towards a functional life of clarity and happiness. I now realize just how much of a gift this can be.

What I do still take issue with is the very primary idea in AA that someone who is an alcoholic will remain an alcoholic. There is a life sentence implicit in AA’s labeling of an individual. Though you may well be able to have a healthy relationship with alcohol for the first time in your life by not drinking, you will never in your life be expected to get over this fixation. You are basically told that you have a treatable, but incurable disease and that you must live your entire life under alcohols control. Drink or not, you are taught that being an alcoholic will continue to define you as long as you live.

For most (if not all) alcoholics who have not self identified as such and then begun to control their drinking this sentence can be necessary. What I am writing here may actually make their life more difficult. Any hope of graduating from AA may allow them to see the very process of stopping drinking as a way to get back to drinking. AA makes it clear that this is not the goal, and I respect their need to do so. Drinking should never be the goal of someone addicted to alcohol.

But what about graduation? Is it not possible for someone to actually move on from this paradigm of disease/treatment, and the feeling of brokenness that is so implicit, to actually learn to have a healthy relationship with alcohol? This AA does not teach. Possibly should not. But some of my friends, after ten years of sobriety, have come to this conclusion on their own. And I am so fucking proud to here it.

They have spoken with many of the important people in their lives about this; opened themselves up to criticism and monitoring. They have sent out mass emails to other friends that they could not talk to individually. They are so obviously changed, with different motives, drives, desires, expectations and fears, that I for one have amazing faith in their decisions. They do not want to drink to hide anything. There is no pain, no fear in this decision. It shows an amazing courage. They are ready to celebrate life, to join the ranks of us ‘normal’ drinking idiots and to shed the baggage of limiting labels that they have so staunchly carried and helped others to carry, for so long.

In this pursuit I recognize the very hard path that they are beginning to walk and have offered one of my friends the following letter explaining how an Integral view of the situation might help her to understand, explain to, and coexist with all those in her life who are not in her place.

___

Our recent discussion led me to believe that you may appreciate hearing a little more about one of Ken’s concepts. I know how much you love Mr. Wilber! He calls it the ‘pre/trans fallacy’. It has to do with the idea I was talking about of people progressing from pre-conventional to conventional to post-conventional. The basic idea is that if you look at some of the ways that people develop over time you can recognize stages that they develop through. Bare with me, I know part of this is stating what is obvious to you. You can then look at the way that people respond to certain situations or questions and see that their actions or answers correlate quite clearly with their stage of development. The interesting thing is that some of their responses appear to be the same, even though they come from different levels and are for different reasons.

Let me illustrate one example (and remember that we’re using broad strokes to establish orienting generalizations):

America’s involvement in the Vietnam war was met with (at least) 3 different responses from college students of the time, two of which appear identical to someone without an understanding of developmental unfolding. Both the pre and the trans (or post)-conventional answers were ‘Fuck you, I’m not fighting your war.’ (protest) Conventional students enlisted.

Here’s a concrete example [of the pre/trans fallacy] based on empirical research. During the Berkeley riots protesting the war in Vietnam, a team of researchers gave a representative sample of the students the Kohlberg test of moral development. … What researchers found was that a small percentage of the students, something like 20%, were indeed operating from the post conventional stages (or “trans” conventional stages). That is their objections were based on universal principles of right and wrong, they were not based on any particular society’s standards or on individual whim. On the other hand, the vast majority of the protesters – around 80% – were found to be preconventional, which means their moral reasoning was based on personal and rather selfish motives. … And, as we would expect, there were almost no students at the conventional level, the level of “my country right or wrong” (since these students would not have seen any reason to protest in the first place). … (from http://www.oregonvos.net/~jflory/new_age_thought.htm)

So, when it comes to morals the pre-conventional response is usually formed by a feeling of ‘I do what I need to do for myself’. The conventional response is based on an understanding of rules, laws, religious standards and other conventions that allow people to coexist peacefully. The authority comes from a higher place. The response is some sort of ‘I do what is right’. In a post conventional response both the individual and the society are taken into account and a case by case judgement can be made based on what will actually produce the greatest good for the greatest number. The response is more nuanced.

Similar tests have been used regarding abortion.

A person at a pre conventional level will say that abortion is acceptable, because it is their body and they can do whatever they want with it. Someone at a conventional level of moral development will state quite clearly that abortion is wrong because there are rules, laws, morals etc and because taking the life of another is immoral and unjustifiable. Someone at a post conventional level will take all of this into account and is most likely to come up with the answer that, at times, abortions are the best solution for everyone involved.

The pre/trans fallacy has to do with the fact that even though pre and trans reasoning look completely different, if one only looks at the end result, the answer, they can appear to be exactly the same. This creates all kinds of confusion in all different arenas (I’m just talking about moral development above).

I’m making a big deal of this because I think that you are about to walk a very difficult path and it seems to me that any understanding that you can hold of why it may very well be a healthy choice for you to drink, even though many of the people that you are surrounded by also want to drink for unhealthy reasons, is helpful. The point, of course, is not that drinking is right or wrong, but that most people who have problems with drinking are not able to accept the conventionally agreed upon guidelines that a society dictates. Many of them fail to even take their own health and well being into account in even a pre-conventional way, nevermind the well being of society and its conventions. So you are going to have to deal with people who not only won’t agree with your choices but also may fundamentally not be able to understand how you can claim to be where you are.

The difficulty will be twofold. For those at a pre-conventional level your actions may seem a justification for their own. A horizontal solidarity in action can easily be confused for a vertical solidarity in reason. A dangerous line to walk. For those at a conventional level the distinction often looks as simple as conventional and non-conventional. It is very hard for us to fully understand the stages that we have not yet embodied. To them all non-conventional actions can appear the same. They will see you as having failed in sobriety. Those at the later edge of a conventional level may be truly inspired and moved by your actions. Some at each level will probably grasp what you are doing cognitively, but not be able to consistently manifest it in their own life. You will be just fine me thinks.

14

Mar

Purim

I’ve been working with Mr. Wesson over the past couple of months helping him to develop curriculum for a class that he is teaching called Integral Judaism. He has a group of 14-15 yr olds that he is attempting to develop a truly fresh and inspirational view of Judaism with. I help him out a bit when it comes to having as comprehensive or integral approach as possible by using the concepts and tools that I am studying now. He is the Jewish Studies expert and not too shabby on the integral side himself.

Purim is a Jewish holiday that celebrates what most Jewish holidays celebrate; Jews not being slaughtered. This time it was a guy named Haman from the ancient Persian Empire who wanted to annihilate the Jews. They triumphed….or at least escaped, and so we celebrate.

David was telling me about one aspect of Purim that involves truly throwing off your shackles and really digging into the shadow elements of oneself. This can start with screaming and stomping during service, progress to drinking, dancing, sexing and pretty much anything else. He said that by many accounts ‘what happens on Purim stays in Purim’. Part of the idea is simply to recognize the parts of the self that are suppressed or denied throughout the rest of the year, to get in touch with much that is taboo, not to indulge it, but to better understand it and to therefore be more in control of it.

We decided that it would be a great opportunity to explore shadow with the students (the parts of our psyche that usually lie in the dark, hidden from our view) and agreed that an experiential aspect was important. After seriously considering getting the kids drunk and encouraging them to explore their boundaries of right and wrong we decided that perhaps a discussion, followed by a meditation would be more appropriate.

Here is what I wrote, stream of conscious style and what Dave ended up using as a basic guideline in class. All questions in the discussion section can be discussed for any length of time and the meditation could be 5 minutes or 60 depending on how long you want to allow each line to marinate. Apparently the students enjoyed it. I really hope to be able to go in and teach a class soon.

Discussion

What is ok?
Are all actions acceptable?
Are all thoughts acceptable?

How does the setting and the company you keep affect the acceptability of your actions?

at home?
in class?
with friends?
in temple?
Do setting and company affect your thoughts?
Should you control your actions?
Should you control your thoughts?
Can you control a negative thought without first recognizing it and labeling it as such?
Can you control your actions if you deny your thoughts?
If a negative thought arises and you disown it, where does it go? (shadow)
what can happen if you re-own such a thought?
Who created that thought? (Integral perspective, see how it arises in all 4 quadrants)
4 quadrants of a thought. Each moment as two things, karma (in all 4 quadrants) + creativity
No matter what your environment, history, DNA, beliefs (karma) etc. you still have choice
What is involved in being good?
What are some things that you don’t do?
How would you know not to do them if you did not think about them?
Does having these negative thoughts make you evil or even negative?
Most mythic religious traditions view evil as something that comes from outside of you. How does this empower or disempower you to do good?
If evil comes from without, how can you control it?
But if it arises from within?
What does it mean if you have indulged negative thoughts with negative actions in the past?
How does that affect this moment? The future?
Are those who have sinned dammed to continue to sin?

Experiential

Close your eyes
What are you thinking right now?
Is that good?
bad?
neutral?
How do you know?
What if I tell you to think of something evil?
Try it right now
now let your mind wander free
notice that you are not your thoughts
see how you can control your thoughts
send your mind to a negative place
can you think of something that you should not do?
something that society has told you is wrong
something that your friends think is wrong
something that your parents have forbid
something that you would never do
can you see yourself doing it?
does this mean that it is done?
does this change who you are or what you will do in the future?
does having felt this in your mind make you more or less likely to actually do this?
what value is there is in letting these thoughts arise on their own?
what harm is there in this?
what power can you wield by simply noticing thoughts?
can you then decide whether or not to act upon them?
can you also decide whether or not to indulge them in your mind?
is there a difference between allowing a thought to surface, simply noticing it, labeling it, and indulging it, feeding it?
might there be a line between healthy awareness and unhealthy indulgence that you should practice being aware of?
what are you thinking right now?
notice this thought
see if you have judged it
did you also judge yourself?
are you your thoughts?
if you are your thoughts, then who is judging them?
who is aware of your thoughts?
do your thoughts change?
are they fleeting?
is there something that is constant that is aware of your thoughts?

Choose a thought
create a vision of this room
right here
right now
Envision each and every person in this room sharing one thought
feel the resonance of this thought as it grows
realize your part in this thought, your contribution
feel the effects of each and every other persons awareness of this moment upon you
now focus on your breath
breath in
and now out
realize that each of you is doing the same
NOW DANCE!!!!! bitches!!!!! (play really loud music and giggle maniacally making them call into question everything you have just done and learning to ultimately trust no one but themselves, then pee on them)

10

Feb

Head Above Water

It was a rough few months, and somehow, jumping back into the blog thing seemed daunting. I’ve talked so much about the homeless situation (which lasted a month) and the events that surrounded it, that I was just bored with it, but felt like i couldn’t just completely gloss over them and post something that just happened. So I didn’t write anything. I’m gonna attempt a condensed version of the past months so I can move on and start writing again, as exciting things are happening.

On Friday, October 17th 2007 I left my apartment early in the morning to drive up to Stamford, CT for work, and then to head straight to Boston to see the Wesson’s for the weekend. While I was gone the DOB (Department of Buildings), the Red Cross, the police, the ASPCA and a goon squad kicked everyone who was living in my building out. The broke down doors and everyone was forced out on the street. They cited fire code violations as the reason, but many suspect that it was the fact that we were living in a building that is zoned for manufacturing. Converted lofts are a staple of NYC living, and the only way that many artists can live here. There is also a history of tenants fighting the city to stay in their places. A large group of photographers, painters, musicians, set builders, filmmakers etc. lost their work and living space with only a couple of hours to gather their belongings and get the fuck out. On top of that our landlord walked away with our security deposits; the very thing that people rely on to get a new apartment ($3600 in my case). So that sucked a bit. We got organized, had a press conference with a couple of political reps speaking on our behalf, had a fundraiser and have been consulting lawyers about possibly suing our landlord. All in all a great time.

That weekend I was actually going to Boston to see David so we could sign a contract with one another promising that we would write, record, and release an album within the next year. The first month was to be spent writing one song a day and sending them to each other online. Being homeless made this interesting. I wrote and recorded guitar parts in hotels, my Manhattan office, and in the brief moments I was allowed back into my old apartment. Part way through the month one of my laptops died (the one I had set up for mobile recording). I ended up making it through 20 days of songs before the lack of sleep and general ridiculous of my life wore me down. I also spent the first 3 weekends of homelessness taking 20 hours of classes a weekend out in Long Island to get my NY state low-voltage license. That sucked.

I was back in Boston visiting the Wesson’s again over New Years. Dave and I pulled together 5 songs out of the writing experiment, got rejuvenated to continue writing and I got to see Dave and Candi’s beautiful daughter Talia take her first ever steps! I picked up Agape from my ex-girlfriends and found out that she is pregnant.

I have now landed in a kick-ass apartment in Williamsburg (Brooklyn). I love it, Agape seems to love it too. I bought a TV and got cable and my first ever Mac. I have been without a TV for six years. We’ll see how much of my life blood it sucks, how much less reading and conversing with visitors I do and whether or not I can keep it around. I just started my second class at Fielding Graduate University. It’s Advanced Integral Theory. The geek quotient is rising. I love it. I went to Georgia for my company Christmas party. I’ve made a couple of trips to Austin for work recently. I’m off to Wilmington, NC next weekend to visit my good friend Antoinette and take Reiki level 1 and 2 classes with her. February 8th was my 30th birthday. My surprisingly thoughtful sister (what has she become?!?) threw a little surprise party for me at a local bar, which was awesome.

All in all I am settling in. I hate the winter once again. I need sun soon, and I’m sick of being single. Work is work. School is a welcome challenge, and it feels great to be playing the guitar again. More to come.

10

Oct

The Big Three – The Good, The True, and The Beautiful

Integral Studies – Lesson 2

One key aspect of Integral Theory is the 4 quadrants (shown below), often referred to as I, We, It and It’s. These are four perspectives through which we can view the world. The idea is that all things arise in all 4 quadrants. The Upper Left (UL) quadrant is the interior of the individual the Lower Right is the exterior of the collective etc.

These 4 quadrants are often simplified into the Big 3 and correlate rather nicely with the tried and true philosophical ideas of the Good (we), the True (it), and the Beautiful (I). As it is only through each of these perspectives that we can know what is good (ethics, intersubjective), true (science, objective), and beautiful (art, subjective), it is important to remember that far too often we each tend to favor one perspective over the others and much suffering ensues.

Our assignment was to describe a memorable event in our lives using the language of each of these three major perspectives. Someone wrote about the birth of their child, and someone else lamented that they could not write about their own birth….so:

I opened my eyes and there they were, presumably the people who had been poking me and playing that awful music right in my ear every night. I know who she his, she feels like me. I think that we are the same. But these other men I’m not so sure about. One of them seems almost familiar, and now he his looking at me. He loves me. He is crying. Where the hell am I? It’s cold, I think someone just smacked my bottom, and suddenly the liquid that I’m breathing feels very thin and harsh. I’ve been screaming to go back, but no one seems to understand. They are passing me to her, laying me upon her chest. Here I feel at home again.

We knew that this was the most important day that we had experienced together as soon as the first contraction happened. There was a moan, the walls drew in, and suddenly we felt a rush of energy and anxiety course through our veins. Someone grabbed one of our hands and said that we needed to head to the hospital right away. We didn’t think that there was much too worry about, but we didn’t really have the energy to argue with him either. He is a sincere and caring man, and though he was not experiencing things quite as viscerally as we were, we knew that he shared our joy and concern for the import of this moment, and so we allowed him to lead us all to the car and drive straight away to the hospital.

It came out with a slurping sound and started wailing right away. It seems to have become proficient in the use of its levator palpebrae superioris muscles prior to seeing the light because it is blinking quite profusely. There seems to be blood and a number of other fluids coating the skin and what little hair covers its head as if the creature had just immerged victorious from battle or some other violent encounter. The umbilical chord was snipped like a piece of sausage and the placenta was bagged and rushed off to storage. The babies toes were counted, it’s face wiped off and it was placed gently on its mothers chest where the screams finally stopped and its heart rate slowed to a more restful pace.

It was interesting to talk from the we space of the mother-child union that is really a blurred line between self and other to begin with. Presumably the moments surrounding birth are when such a line is being drawn the most and yet also the most difficult to distinguish. The IT language felt cold and inappropriate for such an event, but no doubt was the most important for the overall health and well being of all involved. I don’t actually remember being born, so you’ll have to forgive my imagination creeping into the assignment, but from a completely subjective point of view who is to say that what I have described here is not a direct result of some sort of memory, or physical imprint from the actual birthing experience? Certainly not me.

01

Oct

Integral Studies – Lesson 1

Since part of me reason for taking courses in Integral Theory is to be accepted into the cult and thus help spread the good word I am going to try sharing my responses to assignments on this here blog. I know that some of you are wondering what the hell I have gotten myself into while others have an inkling and are curious to know more. Some already know quite a bit and perhaps as this progresses you shall learn even more with me. Please feel free to question and criticize at al times.

We have short weekly assignments in the form of written responses to readings that we are doing during the week. We post these responses in our ‘classroom’ which is actually an online forum where we are also required to comment on one another’s responses. Already, simply pondering the possibility of this I feel more engaged with my classmates than I often did in the regular brick and mortar atmosphere of undergraduate work where I rarely knew what others work consisted of, never mind engaged it actively. This could be fun.

Lesson #1 is a practice lesson based on about 75 pages of introductory reading on Integral Theory.

Dig it:

In my attempts to help consciousness blossom in myself, and all of those I come in contact with, few things seem to allow room for as much hope as the integral model. By using five elements of the AQAL model (quadrants, levels, lines, states and types) I am able to approach and understand the intricacies of interaction that play out within, between and around us in ever more subtle and effective ways. With the Integral Operating system as a tool walls come down, bridges are built, and new tools emerge from the synthesis of once disparate fields.

When working with children simply recognizing the need for a young, preconventional child to learn what is expected of them in society and reach a conventional level of development can be enlightening for someone who tends towards postconventional thoughts and wishes to foster the same in said child. Understanding that stages or levels unfold sequentially and can not be skipped allows us to appreciate the steps along the way and nurture them as healthy and natural rather than scolding them as less than ideal.

It can also be eye opening to recognize the lines of development that individuals exceed in or struggle with. Having this ability allows one the ability to appreciate one child’s cognitive skills, while recognizing that she may need your help when dealing with the other children emotionally. At the same time another child may be the perfect, emotionally outreaching playmate for her, but be lacking in his kinesthetic or physical sense of self and need encouragement or shelter from those more physically able or aggressive.